The answer is tulle, as ever

So, I spent a happy afternoon on Sunday after all the duty stuff had been done working on my death quilt.  I had been doing quite a bit of work on it, and it was looking okay, but the very central part, the plaque with the grieving woman was jumping out:

Central panel pre-tulle
Central panel pre-tulle

I was thinking about doing some light stamping over the top like that on the painted chipboard panel it’s on to knock it back a bit, but it suddenly came to me that the answer was that old collage standby: the black tulle.  I had used this a fair bit in the collage classes that I went to with My Grate Frend Mike, who is a bit of a genius with it:

Mike's moody Mont St Michel
Mike's moody Mont St Michel

Here’s my use of black tulle for shading:

Shaded peppers
Shaded peppers

The lovely Mike went out and bought a metre of tulle – not net – it’s much finer than net – in every colour he could find and split them with me, so I have plenty to choose from.  The minute I put it over the panel the whole thing looked better.  The central panel suddenly belonged to the quilt rather than sticking out from it:

Central panel with tulle
Central panel with tulle

And once the tulle was on I could start to build up a frame around the central image with a variety of beads.  The big shiny ones at the bottom are from Anita’s beads (, and the amethyst chips at the top are because they were my father’s birthstone – as they are mine.  I might put a few more on, but they were starting to cover the embroidery up entirely.  I like the odd shell grotto kind of feeling it is developing.

Another reason I love the tulle is its connections with mourning and its role in the imagery of death.  I like the idea of the other side of veil as a metaphor for death.  And I have made things before where I have veiled the central image because it seems too powerful on its own.  The veiling feels ‘right’ thematically on this piece.


The quilt is coming along well now, and I am surprised just how much you can get done when you really devote a chunk of time to it.

3 thoughts on “The answer is tulle, as ever

    1. It is, isn’t it? I love and have always loved the Pre-Raphaelites, so that’s no shock, but the gothic is new! I could be channelling my inner Morticia or darker Stevie Nicks, of course.

      1. when I was a student I used to love to chill out in front of the mad lady with the pot plant* at the laing in newcastle, and am well aware of the pull of ones inner tish

        * isabella nd the pot of basil

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